Genotyped ram action

There is still a high level of questions being raised regarding the genotyped ram action in the Sheep Improvement Scheme (SIS). The year which a farmer has chosen to purchase a ram can be found on your account.

Select the tab – ‘Ag schemes – Sheep Improvement Scheme’ and this will bring you through to the SIS portal.

There are three dots on the right of the page, click on these and this will generate a pop-up giving the option to view your application. Selecting this option will present your flock’s reference number which must be maintained over the calendar year to receive payment on this figure.

Clicking the ‘next’ tab on the bottom right of the screen will then present the measures you selected and the year you opted to purchase a ram. Remember there is a facility to defer purchasing a ram in 2023 if you are facing challenges in sourcing one.

The Sheep Ireland ramsearch facility allows you to search for eligible rams in an area – visit This also allows you to check the eligibility of rams.

There will be over 500 SIS eligible rams across 11 breeds available at the Sheep Ireland elite multi-breed ram sale taking place on Saturday 26 August in Tullamore Mart starting at 11.30am. Visit for the catalogue for the sale. A full list of scheme questions and answers can be found at

Straw requirements

The prospects for straw supplies are currently downbeat, with weather continuing to present challenges in saving straw while crops of straw are lower than in 2022.

The supply is being boosted somewhat by a carryover of 2022 season straw. It is advisable to act early where feasible to get supplies on hand.

On average, lowland ewes require 7kg straw bedding per week to absorb all urine, while hill ewes typically require 4kg to 5kg straw per week. As a rule of thumb, a 4x4 round bale weighing 140kg will be sufficient to bed 18 to 20 lowland ewes per week or 30 to 35 hill ewes for a week.

It is important to build in an allowance to account for earlier housing or delayed turnout, and also to account for higher volumes used during lambing. On average four to five round bales are required for every 100 ewes in a system targeting a 24-to-36-hour turnaround period in individual pens.

It is worth noting that the requirement may be reduced by 20% to 30% where ewes are fed hay or high dry matter haylage. The manner in which straw is applied will also have an influence, with a straw blower having the potential to reduce demand.

There can be significant variation in the weight of straw which will also be influenced this year by dry matter. 8 x 4 x 3 bales typically weigh about 360kg (350kg to 380kg) while 8 x 4 x 4 bales weigh around 550kg to 560kg on average (480kg to 600kg).

Sheepdog trials

The 2023 Irish National Sheepdog Trials take place from Thursday 24 August to Saturday 26 August in Newhouse, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny. The trials begin each day at 7am and run throughout the day.

Fertiliser register

The 1 September 2023 is now a deadline to register as a Professional Fertiliser End User. If you wish to purchase fertiliser or lime from 1 September then you must be registered. See the opposite page for more.